Tahoe Research: Our common cause

Dear Friends,

Together, the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Reno have a proven record of collaboration at Lake Tahoe. We’ve helped provide this national treasure with needed science, program leadership and a plan for sustaining its health for the benefit of future generations.

It is interesting to note how far the Tahoe partnership between our two institutions has come since 1997, when President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, at the invitation of Nevada U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, convened the first Lake Tahoe Environmental Summit. The Lake Tahoe Presidential Summit held on July 26, 1997 (and preceded by several community events involving key cabinet members and what has been estimated at more than 1,000 cabinet and White House staff) brought about a resounding and exciting affirmation that teamwork, partnership and a common research vision would provide answers in saving Tahoe. Vice President Gore, hosting an event in a clearing of pine trees not far from Mount Tallac on Tahoe’s south shore the day before President Clinton’s arrival at Sand Harbor, spoke of a “consensus” of purpose that would include effort from all with a stake in Tahoe’s future.

Said Sen. Reid of the impact of the first Lake Tahoe Summit: “It led to our turning around the environmental degradation of that great lake.”

Since those heady days of 1997, our two institutions have joined forces with local, regional and national management agencies as well as other academic institutions, in an effort to strike that fine balance of consensus of purpose. Our institutions have helped lead the way in discoveries on nutrient loading, water quality and watershed ecology. Our scientists have helped develop innovative ways to monitor Tahoe’s precious ecology and in finding management strategies for the air, land and water of Tahoe that help, not hinder, the overall health of this unique natural resource. Our students and researchers have helped the public develop a more in-depth understanding of why Tahoe is important, and why it is of the utmost importance that the work of the past 16 years must continue at its quick and productive tempo. Our approach will continue to be interdisciplinary and inter-institutional. Our pledge to Lake Tahoe remains firm: our two institutions work in common cause, so that the lake’s heritage of beauty and clarity can be shared by our children’s grandchildren and beyond.


Marc Johnson
University of Nevada, Reno

Stephen Wells
Desert Research Institute

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